Bradie Tennell wins U.S. title; Mirai Nagasu 2nd; Ashley Wagner 4th

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Bradie Tennell is your U.S. champion. Silver medalist Mirai Nagasu appears headed back to the Olympics after tearfully being left off the 2014 team.

And bronze medalist Karen Chen will round out the three-woman U.S. Olympic team over fourth-place Ashley Wagner, should a committee stick to the standings from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday night.

But that’s not a sure thing.

Wagner, the three-time national champion and face of U.S. women’s skating, placed fourth for the second straight nationals in an Olympic year.

In 2014, Wagner was placed on the Olympic team over third-place Nagasu. Will a committee using this criteria of results from the past year put Wagner on the team again?

Wagner said she was underscored and deserved a spot on the Olympic team.

VIDEO: Wagner ‘furious’ about nationals scores

The Olympic team of three women — again, not necessarily the top three at nationals — will be announced Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on TODAY.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday with the pairs and men’s free skates on NBC and NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.

NATIONALS: Full Results | TV Schedule

Tennell, 19, has been a revelation since placing ninth at the 2017 Nationals. She took bronze in her Grand Prix debut at Skate America on Thanksgiving weekend and entered nationals with the two highest scores among Americans this season.

Tennell’s jumping was nearly impeccable in both programs where every other top U.S. woman had struggles.

She topped the short program by seven tenths of a point and the free skate by nearly five points, with Nagasu runner-up both nights.

“I can’t believe it,” Tennell, the 2015 U.S. junior champion, said on NBC. “I can’t put it into words. … I think the sky’s the limit for me.”

Nagasu, 24, matched her best finish at nationals since winning her only title in 2008. She made the 2010 Olympic team, was fourth at those Winter Games, and topped the 2010 Worlds short program but never reached those levels internationally again.

Her most memorable skate may have been the 2014 U.S. Championships exhibition, when she tearfully performed hours after she was left off the Olympic team in favor of Wagner.

She added the triple Axel this season and landed it messy in both programs but was given credit for the jump. Quite the longevity for the Californian who fell on a double Axel in her 2008 Nationals free skate.

Chen won last year’s national title and was fourth at the 2017 Worlds, two results that boost her resume in the eyes of the selection committee.

In 2014, Wagner had the credentials as defending U.S. champion and top U.S. woman in international competition. She has not been at that level in more than one year.

Wagner, in her first time competing her “La La Land” free skate on Friday, singled a planned triple Salchow as part of a combination. She also under-rotated a late triple Lutz, two-footing the landing.

When she received her score, lower than her free skate at the last three nationals, Wagner shook her head from left to right and raised her eyebrows in concern.

Wagner was in danger after placing fifth in Wednesday’s short program. She has had two poor seasons — by her standards — since winning the 2016 World silver medal.

It may have been her final competition.

It appears none of the Sochi Olympians will make it back for PyeongChang.

Gracie Gold, the top U.S. woman in Sochi, is sitting out nationals after receiving treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. Gold is in San Jose to support the competing skaters and tweeting up a storm.

The third 2014 U.S. Olympian, Polina Edmunds, withdrew before the free skate due to right foot pain, according to her social media.

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports in Sochi, was seventh in the short program. She missed the entire 2016-17 season due to a bone bruise in her right foot and was ranked 13th among U.S. women this season going into nationals.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for PyeongChang Olympics

WATCH LIVE: U.S. Figure Skating Championships rhythm dance, women’s free skate

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Can Bradie Tennell hold off 14-year-old Alysa Liu? The U.S. Figure Skating Championships crowns its female medalists on Friday, live on NBC Sports.

Action starts with the rhythm dance at 4:30 p.m. ET for NBC Sports Gold subscribers, with NBCSN broadcast coverage joining in at 5. The women start at 7:25 on Gold, with NBC TV coverage starting at 8.

LIVE STREAM: Rhythm dance — Gold | NBCSN | Skate Order
LIVE STREAM: Women’s free skate — Gold | NBC | Skate Order

Tennell topped Thursday’s short program with a clean slate of jumps, plus the highest artistic score.

She bettered Liu in the short program last year, too, but fell in the free skate to take silver. Liu, meanwhile, landed two triple Axels to win by 3.92 points and become the youngest U.S. champion in history.

Another skater to watch is Gracie Gold, the two-time U.S. champion competing at nationals for the first time in three years. Gold, lauded for her return from an eating disorder, depression and anxiety, struggled with jumps in the short and is in 13th place of 18 skaters.

In the rhythm dance, past U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates are expected to begin a duel that should come down to Saturday’s free dance.

Key Skate Times
5:32 p.m. — Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue
5:38 — Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker
5:44 — Madison Chock/Evan Bates
8:07 — Gracie Gold
10:03 — Karen Chen
10:11 — Amber Glenn
10:27 — Bradie Tennell
10:35 — Mariah Bell
10:43 — Alysa Liu

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NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, who defected, eyes Tokyo Games as German or refugee

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LÜNEN, Germany (AP) — Iran’s only female Olympic medalist said Friday she wants to compete for Germany after defecting from her native country.

Kimia Alizadeh is trying to rebuild her life and career after she announced this month she had left Iran, citing sexism on the part of officials there.

“Even if I do not make it to the Olympics, it does not matter because I have made up my mind,” Alizadeh said at a meeting with journalists at a taekwondo club.

“I am sure that I will be judged by many, but I am just 21 years old and can attend world tournaments and future Olympics. However, I will spare no effort to get the best result at this time as well.”

She added she doesn’t expect ever to compete in Iran again.

Alizadeh was just 18 when she won bronze in taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, catapulting her to instant fame at home. Despite Iran’s long history of victories in men’s wrestling and weightlifting, no Iranian woman had ever won a medal before.

However, Alizadeh was frustrated with life in Iran despite her Olympic success. In an Instagram post this month announcing she had left Iran, she accused Iranian officials of sexism and criticized wearing the mandatory hijab headscarf.

Alizadeh hasn’t given up hope of being able to compete at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo. However, getting there would require highly unusual exemptions from the usual rules on nationality switches and qualification, regardless of whether she tries to represent Germany or the International Olympic Committee’s refugee team.

Alizadeh spent time in the Netherlands before heading to Germany this week to meet with taekwondo officials there. The German Taekwondo Union has spoken up in favor of Alizadeh staying in the country in what it calls a first step toward her gaining nationality and becoming eligible to compete for Germany.

“If the German government assists me and I can go through this process as fast as possible, I might be able to make it to the Olympics, too,” she said.

In recent years, many Iranian athletes have left their country, citing government pressure. In September, the former world judo champion Saeed Mollaei moved to Germany after walking off the Iranian team at the world championships in Japan. He said Iranian officials had tried to force him to withdraw so as not to compete against an Israeli opponent.

Alireza Faghani, an Iranian international soccer referee, also left Iran for Australia last year.

Alizadeh said she just wants “a peaceful life,” and she’s not looking back.

“I have a great feeling to have made a decision for my life that would definitely change my future,” she said. “I think it is not even clear enough now and. in the years to come, I will understand what a good decision I made.”

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MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics